The Word for 2014 is … Optimization!

Greeting all, and Happy New Year!

Now that I’ve got a few years of writing, publishing, marketing, and blogging under my belt, it’s time to take a look at what’s working and what isn’t. As such, the word for me in 2014 will be optimization. My optimization will fall into a three categories:

Writing Process

A read a couple of great books in 2013 that have inspired me to make some changes to my admittedly sporadic and somewhat unproductive writing process. Those books were…

2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love

and

The 7 Secrets of the Prolific: The Definitive Guide to Overcoming Procrastination, Perfectionism, and Writer’s Block

As a result of these two books, I’ve begun flexing my time at work in order to get two good writing sessions in during the week. Add one session on the weekend and I should have at least 4-6 hours of prime writing time. Doesn’t sound like much, but consider I’m saving these blocks of time strictly for prose production. I.e. creating new words. Everything else–editing, marketing, graphic design, story prep, etc.–will be done during the rest of the week when I can steal a few minutes here and there, minutes that don’t require the kind of absolute focus that prose creation does.

In addition, I will also make sure I am ready for my sessions by assuring I have prepped for the session. I.e. I know what I need to write and I’m excited about it, and I have planned my session for the time and location that will result in the most productivity (by keeping records of every session to determine what time of day or night and in what location I typically produce the most words per hour).

My average words-per-hour for 2014 so far is 814. I’m hoping I can get this up to at least 1000. My low WPH so far was around 600. My high 1244. I’m pretty confident that if I make sure I’ve done my preparation and I make sure NOTHING keeps me from my sessions (barring emergencies), than I think 1000 WPH is a good goal.

Blogging and Web Site Management

As you probably know, I have two sites. One for my fiction (this one) and one for my writing research, instruction, and advice (thenortavmethod.com). Maintaining and blogging on two sites is too much if I want to average 1-2 good blog posts a month. So, I will be consolidating both my sites down to a single site. I have to talk to the good folks at GoDaddy to figure out the best way to go about this. Combining two WordPress sites into one does not sound like a simple task. As I work in IT for a living, I could easily get sucked into doing all the coding and transporting myself, by hand, and that is something I want to avoid at all costs. My guess is I will select a new theme/design for the combined site, change themes on one of my two sites, and then figure out how to port the information from the second site into the new one. Ugh….

Social Media and Marketing

It’s probably no surprise to anyone that this is the least enjoyable aspect of trying to establish and maintain a writing career. I’m a writer… I want to WRITE. I already have to deal with a 9-5 in the meantime, so adding the pressure and time-soak of being active in social media and marketing is something I dread. However, in this new age of indie publishing, it is essential. The good news is, with only one novel and one textbook on the market, the number one activity I can do to increase sales and exposure is to write and publish more. So this will be my focus. Though I’ve been somewhat active on Twitter and Facebook (with varying degrees of success), I plan on limiting myself to ONE social media venue in 2014. Not sure which one yet, but I will let you know.

But there is one marketing tool I am excited about using in 2014. Thanks to another great book I read in 2013, Write. Publish. Repeat. (The No-Luck-Required Guide to Self-Publishing Success), I will be offering a free bonus to readers of Fell’s Hollow and The NORTAV Method. If a reader/listener of Fell’s Hollow writes a review on Amazon, Audible, or Goodreads, and sends me a link to the review, I will send them a free bonus episode in ebook format. More on this in the next few weeks. If someone wants to get a jump on things (or has already written a review), send me an email and I will send you the bonus episode as soon as it’s finished, probably sometime in February. For readers who leave a review of The NORTAV Method, I have something else planned and will announce that in the next few weeks.

Anyway, that’s my 2014 optimization plan. I hope to see you here in the year to come.

And remember…

Keep creatin’!

–Jim

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